Wider cracks at one end. Water seeps into the basement through a vertical crack. Cracked foundations can lead to structure problems, roof problems, door and window problems, and even basement wall leaks. Correcting structural and foundation problems can be very costly, and sometimes cracks in the foundation will be a warning sign of other structural problems in a home.
You need to worry about a crack in the base when it appears as a widening horizontal fracture or as an irregular, stepped split in the mortar. Fine and vertical cracks are usually benign, while horizontal and stepped cracks often suggest compromised terrain conditions and require immediate attention. Concrete can crack over time, often early in its useful life as it cures and shrinks. Therefore, if you find a short, often vertical, thin crack in the base wall, especially if it occurs near the seam where the shapes were joined for the initial foundation pouring, there may be nothing to worry about.
Cracks in foundations of this type usually do not represent a structural weakness that can worsen over time. However, if you are concerned about fine cracks, we would be happy to take a look at them as part of our free, no-obligation inspection. Now that you know that a crack in the base is just a reality, let's see when to worry about them and when it's time to repair a crack in the base. Horizontal cracks mean a major rupture of the wall due to external pressure.
Vertical cracks, when wider at the top, indicate a drooping base and a bulging center, and when wider at the bottom, they generally mean a bulging base and a descending center. The wise homeowner or buyer must really analyze the big picture to determine the severity of cracks in the foundation. Stabilizing a foundation with structural problems can involve a number of different solutions, including excavating around the outside of the wall, hydraulic lifting, or shoring the wall with steel, but only a foundation contractor will be able to assess the extent of the problem and offer an appropriate solution. Repairing a foundation crack in this width range is a simple DIY project that involves filling the crack with a putty that is compatible with concrete, such as Dap Concrete and Mortar Sealant.
If water tends to build up around foundations during and after storms, even when gutters and drains are clean, consider a landscape renovation to lower the yard and keep plant roots away from the foundations. There are harmless, inevitable cracks and serious cracks, but the fact is that any crack in the base can indicate serious and costly problems, which means that you should not ignore even one of them. While any crack can be unsightly, diagonal and vertical foundation cracks are usually the result of normal settlement, and can be treated as stated above. Sealing a crack without having to deal with water sources can create more significant foundation problems.
A large number of houses have cracks in their foundations, and the older a house becomes, the greater the likelihood that cracks will appear. And of course, if you're planning any remodeling in the future, it's always best to have a level base to start with. In areas with expansive soils (clayey soils), there is generally more soil and foundation movement than in other areas. Foundation problems can get worse, so it's often easier and less costly to repair them sooner rather than later.
The severity of the crack in the base will also depend on the location, size and number of cracks. Other factors that can cause damage to foundations include loose soil, very dry or damp soil, inadequate drainage, poor construction, earthquakes, and temperature changes. .